Letter: Planning Commission should turn down Oak Hills plan

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To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Mr. Torgny Astrom, chairman of the Planning Commission.

Dear Mr. Astrom:

At a special meeting on Monday, Aug. 11, the Planning Commission is going to review the Oak Hills Park Authority’s Master Plan.

Members of the Commission must know that the 2008 City of Norwalk Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) stipulates that:

  • The city should seek “citizen participation in planning and governance” and include “the public in the formative stages of the planning process.
  • There must be competition for contracting services.
  • The city should preserve public park open space to the greatest extent possible.
  • Residential neighborhoods must be protected from incompatible development.
  • Proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials must be ensured.

Yet the OHPA’s Master Plan:

  • Was developed behind closed doors without any substantive attempt to involve a representative cross section of citizens in the process.
  • Was not developed with the help of a professional planner selected by means of a competitive process. Instead the OHPA chose Total Driving Range Solutions, a recently established firm in Norwalk that seeks to construct a driving range in Oak Hills Park, to help draw up the plan.
  • Calls for the construction of a large commercial driving range that encroaches on open space in Oak Hills Park.
  •  Does not take into account the effect increased traffic and noise associated with the proposed driving range might have on the residential quality of the West Norwalk neighborhood in which the Park is situated.
  • Does not stipulate how hazardous chemicals used to maintain the golf course will be handled.

For these five reasons alone the Planning Commission should reject the OHPA’s Master Plan and call for a new Master Plan to be developed by a professional planner with active input from all our city’s stakeholders.


Paul Cantor


6 responses to “Letter: Planning Commission should turn down Oak Hills plan”

  1. Casey Smith

    “…call for a new Master Plan to be developed by a professional planner with active input from all our city’s stakeholders.”
    Good Heavens! I’ve been to at least 3 public meetings regarding the Oak Hills Golf Course and NON has reported on several others. All these issues have been discussed at length ad nauseam and NON has reported on most of them.
    It’s time to move on.

  2. Suzanne

    Nope, Casey Smith, it is not. The problem with the OHPA’s “Master Plan” is the way it was created. There was none of the public process or input required of master plans as with every other park in Norwalk. What we have learned at those meetings “ad nauseum” (and I do not disagree with that!) is what OHPA has TOLD us what is happening without regard for a comprehensive process that exists for a reason. It may end up with undue influence from a vendor whose motive, ultimately, is the profit motive and not what is best for the ENTIRE community or the Park.

  3. TomReynolds

    Actually . . . I believe the OHPA held a public review of the pre-Plan early in the year. Over 100 people attended to meeting. They, once again, held anothe public comment even in the Spring, also at City Hall. They listened to peoploe who spoke at their meeting each month. They incorporated many of the comments into the plan and even added other comments in the appendix of the plan. looking back, they DID have competing bidders for the driving range and one (of the 2 that even bothered to RFP) was chosen. What else do you want them to do? Put on skirts and do the Can-Can?

  4. Charles Brennan

    Also I am not sure what open space the driving range encroaches upon it is already used for a practice area. The woods where the range should be has been saved and will still be walking trails. I would not say an 18 bay wide range is a large commercial range.

  5. M. Murray’s

    Has anyone counted how many people use these walking trails per day? How does this compare to estimated count of people who will pay to use the range daily?

  6. Eleanore Dilello

    it is always about the same issues, money money money and play play play…as we watch our land TAKEN AWAY AND destroyed by chemicals, NOISE, CARS, AND MORE CARS, our city officials are suppose to be the guardians of this park land in Norwalk…can we not trust them any longer????

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